Skaneateles Library Association

49 East Genesee Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152

History :

The present Skaneateles Library Association was recognized by the state New York and officially incorporated on October 20,1877 by the directors of the Lyceum, the Lecture Association and the Debating Society. This was a subscription library, the cost was $2.00 per year, so "low that anyone could join." The Reading Room was open day and evening, and open to both sexes. The library was to be free of any denominational influence, open to all classes and industry. There was nothing exclusive about this library; the trustees truly wanted everyone to join.

     After ten years of leased rooms, the directors were eager for a building of their own.  In December, 1886, Benoni Lee died and, in his will, gave his old brick law office, the "Sphinx" at the corner of Genesee Street and State Street to the Skaneateles Library Association. On April 12, 1888, work was started on a new building. The new building was added onto the "Sphinx", but remained separate from it. The construction of the building was made possible through the gifts of residents. The building was dedicated on February 27, 1890.

     The wall between the "Sphinx" and the library was opened in 1987 to provide additional space and create a separate Children's Room.  In 1996, this room was redecorated with new shelving and murals by a local illustrator of children's books. Today the Skaneateles Library continues as a private corporation which is open to the public. All residents of Skaneateles may borrow materials without a fee.
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